Shad Season 2023-24 - Resources
Shad Fishing Resources
Here are some resources where you can find out more about the fishery.
- We provide an overview of shad fishing on the St. Johns River in both the YouTube video, Fly Fishing Florida's St. John's River for American Shad. What you'll see and how to get started, and the blog post, Fly Fishing For American Shad on the St. Johns River: A Coldwater Fish in the Florida Subtropics.
- www.shadonthefly.com is an excellent resource for our local shad fishery and shad fishing in general. Visit the companion Shad on the Fly Facebook group for up to date fishing reports, good conversations about shad, and more. This is a private group but well worth requesting access to if you are shad fishing on the St. Johns. Both are run by local shad fisherman, Chad Helenthal.
- For an overview of the water level and what they mean, look at our Water Level Cheat Sheet for Florida's Upper St. Johns River. This will help you understand the water levels and what they mean for fishing and navigating the river.
- Pick up a copy of the excellent book Wade Fly Fishing The Upper St. Johns River Basin (Florida) for American Shad by Luc Desjarlais. While the book focuses on fishing on foot, there is plenty of good information for those of us who spend more time in a boat. We carry the book at Orlando Outfitters.
Shad fishing in Central Florida has a long history and its own unique culture. In addition to the many impromptu get-togethers on the water, there are a number of organized contests and events each season. Here are a few to look for.
- Tying Flies for Shad Roundtable at Orlando Outfitters, Wednesday, February 7th, 2024.
- When the water is low enough, Shadonthefly.com usually organizes a couple of Shad Walks (walk-in shad fishing trips) each season. Check the website and facebook group for announcements but, with the high water this year, there may not be any trips scheduled.
- Spey Fishing for Shad clinic on the St. Johns. If the water comes down enough, we are planning a Spey Fishing Clinic sometime after the beginning of February with expert Spey casting instructor, Leslie Holmes. Light Spey and switch rods are a great way to cover water and catch shad, and add another element to this fishery. Check Instagram and Facebook for updates.
- First Shad of the Season contest at shadonthefly.com. It's over for this season with one of the usual suspects winning again. Catching shad early in the season requires dedication, and some people have it.
- Orlando Outfitters Shad on Fly Instagram Photo Contest. Share a photo of a shad caught on fly this season in the St. Johns for a chance to win one of three $50 Orlando Outfitters Gift Cards. View the rules and instructions on Instagram.
- Coastal Angler Magazine Shad and Crappie Derby. Stop by Orlando Outfitters or another participating location to sign up.